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If exploring and traveling were animals, exploring would be a coyote, and traveling would be a wolf.

Traveling is like a big diva wolf. It requires more specifics to thrive like exotic locations, expensive meals, and anything that involves bragging rights.

The coyote on the other hand is a hardy beast that is found everywhere – wandering the streets of Chicago to the suburbs of Iowa, you’ll find a yote.

The point of this mangy story is that exploring is how I want to experience the world. Mostly because exploring has greater influence on my internal awareness. It ensures an internal expansion as well as a journey between destinations.

Make It Rain Money or Memories

Traveling is expensive. Typically, when I am traveling, I mention far-off places like China, Antarctica, or New York.

Whereas exploring can include closer excursions like my local park, a pub, or the new ax-throwing venue. Ah, the joys of modern life where I can pay someone to throw axes.

Embrace the Possibilities

Travel is saturated with YOLO which has become something I brag about on my favorite social medial platform.

Exploring is about opportunity, where I say yes to anything new. It maybe yes to a dinner with a new acquaintance or yes to helping out at a festival. Exploring invites opportunity, whereas travel is all about what will accumulate the most likes.

More Than a Destination

There have been times when the journey is more interesting than the destination. This is the war-cry of exploring because traveling is all about getting to the destination as quickly as possible.

Whereas when I explore the journey starts as soon as I leave the house, sometimes before I leave the house! If I am exploring and crazy things happen like my bag explodes, I get smuggled into a hotel room, and my dirty clothes gets stolen* then its apart of the expedition.

*Based on true events. As I was getting processed out of the Navy, it included some extra colorful experiences.

Photoshop Versus Unfiltered

Exploring is all about learning. Getting immersed in an environment and incorporating it into my life’s tapestry of experiences.

Traveling is all about the superficial experiences while I enjoy my tall cinnamon dolce latte at Starbucks.

Explorers have a history of sharing their experiences to enhance a bigger cause. Exploring is about making an impact even if it’s in a small like correcting people’s assumptions about a culture. For example, living on an aircraft carrier is nothing like living on a cruise ship. No matter what a Navy recruiter wants to spin.

The Truth Hurts

Travel involves going from one destination to the next. After a brief experience, move on, never to look back, then rinse and repeat.

Exploring is a process that builds momentum as the journey progresses. These experiences are supporting my vision and knowledge of what it is to be human. Even if it is unpleasant, stinky, and selfish.

Explorer for Life

I have spouted off the five wonders of exploring, yet, I realize that this is not always possible.

The traveling trap is something I frequently get mired in; I have social media accounts that I feed with my best superficial, idyllic endeavors. Sure, you see me at the top of Mt. Wright but what you don’t know is that a 5-year-old could have hiked up there faster than me with less sweat.

Instead, my photo depicts a determined woman staring steely-eyed into a storm at the top of a mountain.

However, that doesn’t mean I can’t strive for better. After all, my biggest regrets are from missed opportunities like turning down a chance to backpack through Europe with a friend.

What an epic mistake!

But hopefully with all my traveling missteps, I can do better moving forward.

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